A Kenyan mechanic identified as Dennis Were, who has gone viral online for transforming old cars into classic vintage models, has announced that he will quit his business after 11 years.
Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke, the Nairobi-based mechanic said that the business was not viable, taking into account the amount one puts into the business and the time taken to break even and gain profits.
Were stated that the business of renovating cars gains only from exposure on social media platforms.
The mechanic also noted pressure from clients who give unrealistic timelines for the projects also adds to the challenges they face in that line of work.
Kenyan mechanic, Dennis Were who restored a beaten-up 1986 Peugeot 504.
“Transforming classic cars take time and some clients don’t understand. For instance, you find that some parts are not locally found and hence it will require time to source for it and so if the client expected the project to be done in a week, they may find the car is not complete. Also, when renovating you might find the engine is faulty and hence you have to restart the process,” he noted.
“Sometimes, you agree on a timeline and price, and when transforming it, the price tends to go up, hence the client laments that they don’t have the money.”
Were revealed that he started the business out of passion passion, noting that the desire to transform cars kept him going throughout the years.
He charges clients between Ksh350,000 to Ksh1 million, depending on the model and the requirements needed.
“If it were not for passion, then I could not be here. The business has a lot of pressure. Some complain that their cars are overlooked. They don’t understand the dynamics behind it,” he reiterated.
“Classics, you don’t make profits. It comes with a lot of sweat and pain. You can’t get new panels, what happens is you place fillers. The cars will crack when exposed to sun hence you have to redo the process.”
The mechanic, who is based in Donholm, Nairobi, pointed out that he launched his business in 2012, repairing and transforming cars that had crashed in accidents. He later moved to transforming vintage vehicles in 2015.
Since then, the majority of his cars have been going viral online, including photos of a 1986 classic Peugeot 504, which he transformed into a classic model.
“In the beginning, most of my clients were young people who could not afford to buy a new car, and hence they would buy an old beaten car and bring it for transformation,” he added.
Were graduated in 2011 with a Diploma in Psychology counselling at the Kenya Institute of Professional Counselling. A year later, he joined Mount Kenya University to pursue Business with Information Technology but dropped out due to lack of fees.
The before and after photo of the restored Peugeot 504 from 1986.